Phys. Rev. B 84, 064513 (2011) [16 pages]

First-principles calculation of electronic transport in low-dimensional disordered superconductors

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G. J. Conduit and Y. Meir
Department of Physics, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel

Received 8 February 2011; revised 1 June 2011; published 22 August 2011

We present a novel formulation to calculate transport through disordered superconductors connected between two metallic leads. An exact analytical expression for the current is derived and applied to a superconducting sample described by the negative-U Hubbard model. A Monte Carlo algorithm that includes thermal phase and amplitude fluctuations of the superconducting order parameter is employed, and a new efficient algorithm is described. This improved routine allows access to relatively large systems, which we demonstrate by applying it to several cases, including superconductor-normal interfaces and Josephson junctions. Moreover, we can link the phenomenological parameters describing these effects to the underlying microscopic variables. The effects of decoherence and dephasing are shown to be included in the formulation, which allows the unambiguous characterization of the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in two-dimensional systems and the calculation of the finite resistance due to vortex excitations in quasi-one-dimensional systems. Effects of magnetic fields can be easily included in the formalism, and are demonstrated for the Little-Parks effect in superconducting cylinders. Furthermore, the formalism enables us to map the local super and normal currents, and the accompanying electrical potentials, which we use to pinpoint and visualize the emergence of resistance across the superconductor-insulator transition.

©2011 American Physical Society

72.20.Dp, 73.23.-b, 71.10.Fd